Monday, December 31, 2018

Many homeowners don't like to sacrifice trees for solar panels but some homeowners believe that there are net benefits of removing trees to install solar panels. Well, to know the truth we must do some math work.

But why removing trees?
Reason is obvious, trees or we can say shade from trees reduces the productivity of solar panel. But as you cut down the trees, you also cut down the factory that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. So, the question remains the same, solar panels or trees?

Let's say a tree or a fully grown tree can capture up to 40 - 50 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Some trees also capture as small as 18 pounds a year but these are average numbers. The willingness to cut down trees depends on how many number of trees are there and how much power will be generated in that particular area. We will suppose 1 acre of land and so there can be approx 4800 trees in an acre. Thus, if trees absorb 50 pounds of carbon dioxide, then 240000 pounds of carbon dioxide can be eliminated.

Now let's talk about electricity generation. If we have a solar farm of 1 acre, we can definitely install 600 kW of capacity. According to US department of energy and EPA, 1 kWh of electricity produces 1.34 lbs of carbon dioxide. The solar production in 1 acre will be around 357100 kWh and so 478514 lbs of carbon dioxide will be prevented.

With this numbers, we can definitely say that cutting down trees is a good option but trees are not only captures carbon dioxide but trees also work as air purifier. According to a research, you can stay 7 years younger with at least 10 trees in a city block.

Thus at the end we can conclude that if you have to cut some trees for 5000 + watt solar installation, then you should go for it because on a net environmental basis you are doing the very right thing.

But what if you don't want to cut trees and still be rich by solar farm?
Solar farms cut down trees on a large scale for solar installation. For them, there can be many techniques to generate electricity without cutting down trees. Some of them would be:

1. Solar car ports. In this, solar panels are attached at the canopies over parking lots.

2. Floating solar panels

So we are done here with the debate and if you are feeling guilty for cutting down trees for solar panels, you can plant some other in your backyard. 

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